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“Letters to a Stranger” by Beate Goldman

In “Letters to a Stranger,” Goldman artfully explores a variety of themes, from self-discovery and unspoken attraction, to awkwardness and regret. Her poetry is a bit dense and seemingly scatter-brained, but when read with patience and thoughtfulness, it unlocks a whole layer of depth and beauty that is not initially apparent.

Goldman’s poeticism is portrayed well in several of her simple, yet beautiful lines. For example: “for reality would be too noisy if all things we meant at all times were pronounced,” and “how I regretted then that there was nothing to regret.”

Her greatest strength, in my opinion, is her focus on very average and everyday feelings. She does not write about passionate love affairs or heart-wrenching grief, but instead focuses on that awkwardness when you pass someone you like on the street and ignore them because you are shy, or when someone asks you “how are you” and you answer “fine” when that doesn’t even begin to cover your true feelings. Her work makes you think, but it’s also something most people can relate to, a worthwhile read.

Bridget Balch